An EPA intern recently posted an opinion on EPA’s public blog, Greenversations, which was essentially a hatchet job on livestock production.
It wasn’t so much the shabby research or the cheery, utopian view of veganism that rubbed me the wrong way. It was the fact she took a decidedly anti-agriculture viewpoint on a government Web site.
“I used to eat meat throughout my childhood, but never really enjoyed the taste,” she said on the blog. “I soon learned there was another great motive for becoming vegetarian, the negative environmental impact of livestock production.”
As an example of this, she cited data from what she called, “the British group, VegFarm.” So far, VegFarm has eluded my efforts to locate them. Thinking they may have been a one-hit wonder band of the 1970s, I even Googled, “I Want to Hold Your Tofu” to no avail.
Anyway, quoting VegFarm data, the blog said, “A 10-acre piece of land can feed 60 people when used for the production of soybeans, 24 people when used for wheat, 10 people when used for corn, but only two people when used for cattle.”
Two people for cattle? The data is as phony as the group that came up with it. Ten grass-fed cows on 10 acres of land would produce about 4,000 pounds of packaged beef. If you believe the VegFarm example, that’s 2,000 pounds of beef per person. Even spread over a year, what would possess someone to eat nearly 6 pounds of beef a day?
Every day, tons of misinformation are put out by a growing number of goofball citizens. But doing so on a government Web site takes it to a new high.
The American Farm Bureau Federation released this comment about the blog. “Interns, like all Americans, are entitled to their own opinion on subjects being discussed in public forums. But they, like all government employees, should have an understanding they are not just representing themselves, they are representing the particular government agency — in this case the EPA.
“While this is a position taken by an intern of the agency, EPA should control its blog space. What is written on its blog comes across as its official position toward farmers and ranchers that it regulates and shows a terrible disregard for them and the agriculture industry.”
EPA’s disclaimer on the blog site is designed, I suppose, to separate the agency from the radical views of its staff. But it doesn’t do much to allay my fears that the agency is filling its ranks with idealists who probably won’t be happy until all Americans get their nutrition through an IV tube.
Take some time to look at the site, http://blog.epa.gov/blog. Be cautioned, the comments section has morphed into an open forum for a meatless America.